Keywords: [ second-order optimization ] [ learning rate adaptation ] [ Meta-Learning ] [ proximal point method ]
We propose a framework for online meta-optimization of parameters that govern optimization, called Amortized Proximal Optimization (APO). We first interpret various existing neural network optimizers as approximate stochastic proximal point methods which trade off the current-batch loss with proximity terms in both function space and weight space. The idea behind APO is to amortize the minimization of the proximal point objective by meta-learning the parameters of an update rule. We show how APO can be used to adapt a learning rate or a structured preconditioning matrix. Under appropriate assumptions, APO can recover existing optimizers such as natural gradient descent and KFAC. It enjoys low computational overhead and avoids expensive and numerically sensitive operations required by some second-order optimizers, such as matrix inverses. We empirically test APO for online adaptation of learning rates and structured preconditioning matrices for regression, image reconstruction, image classification, and natural language translation tasks. Empirically, the learning rate schedules found by APO generally outperform optimal fixed learning rates and are competitive with manually tuned decay schedules. Using APO to adapt a structured preconditioning matrix generally results in optimization performance competitive with second-order methods. Moreover, the absence of matrix inversion provides numerical stability, making it effective for low-precision training.